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Composer of the Week

Felix Mendelssohn (1809-1847)

Felix Mendelssohn was one of the most gifted and versatile musicians the world has ever seen. As a child prodigy he was likened to Mozart and he grew to become one of the most famous and beloved composers in Europe, during the middle of the 19th century. His life was cut tragically short, at the age of 38, while he was at the very height of his powers. This week, Donald Macleod focuses on the final five years of Mendelssohn’s life, and follows the composer through his extremely hectic work schedule which undoubtedly contributed to his early demise.

Music Featured:

Lied ohne Worte in E minor, Op 62 No 3 (Trauermarsch)
Paulus, Op 36 (excerpt)
Cello Sonata No 2 in D, Op 58
A Midsummer Night’s Dream, Op 61 (excerpt)
O for the wings of a dove! (From Hear My Prayer)
Lieder ohne Worte in B flat, Op 62 No 2, 5-6
Lieder ohne Worte in E flat, Op 67 No 1
Violin Concerto in E minor, Op 64
Organ Sonata No 5 in D, Op 65
Wenn sich zwei Herzen scheiden, Op 99 No 5
Lieder ohne Worte in C, Op 67 No 4
Lieder ohne Worte in A, Op 85 No 5
Lieder ohne Worte in D, Op 102 No 2-3
Piano Trio No 2 in C minor, Op 66
Athalie, Op 74 (Overture & War March)
Lied ohne Worte in D minor (Reiterlied)
Rondo Brilliant in E flat, Op 29
Lauda Sion, Op 73
Nachtlied, Op 71 No 6
Jubilate, Op 69
Symphony No 3 in A minor, Op 56 “Scottish” (Vivace non troppo & Adagio)
String Quartet in F minor, Op 80

Presented by Donald Macleod
Produced by Luke Whitlock, for BBC Wales

For full track listings, including artist and recording details, and to listen to the pieces featured in full (for 30 days after broadcast) head to the series page for Felix Mendelssohn (1809-1847) https://ift.tt/2PefJ1Q

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Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart (1756-1791)

Donald Macleod finds connections between Mozart’s operas and the composer’s own life

Born in 1756, the theatre was a life-long passion for Mozart. Starting at the tender age of just 11, in the space of 22 years he produced an astonishing 24 theatrical works. His destiny was to follow in his father’s footsteps, as a court musician. Instead, by 1781, after a disagreement over his frequent absences from court, Mozart parted ways with his employer, the Elector of Cologne. He left Salzburg and servitude behind, to set himself up in Vienna, a thriving centre for music. The following year he triumphed with his comic singspiel, Die Entführung aus dem Serail. The succession of works that followed include many of the mainstays of operatic repertory, among them The Magic Flute, which was completed in the year of his death, at the age of 35 in 1791.

This week Donald Macleod finds connecting points between the characters Mozart created for the stage and the composer’s own experiences in life. He examines how Mozart struggled to be a dutiful son, and how he tackles honour and duty in Idomeneo, Lucio Silla and Mitridate. The ideas of enlightenment that influenced Mozart’s own views find expression in the balance of power he depicts between servants and the ruling classes in The Marriage of Figaro. The composer’s thorny path to marriage with Constanze also finds him examining the complexities of love in Die Enführung aus dem Serail and Così fan tutte. Donald ends with Mozart’s masterly representation of temptation and evil, as characterised by the ultimate bad boy Don Giovanni and the scheming and manipulative Queen of the Night.

Music Featured:

Overture to Le nozze di Figaro
Le nozze di Figaro, Act 1: Cinque, dieci …. Se vuol ballare, Signor Contino
La finta giardiniera, Act 1: Appena mi vedon
Così fan tutte, Act 1: Scene 3 (excerpt)
Don Giovanni , Act 1: Notte e giorno faticar
Don Giovanni, Act 1: Ah! Chi mi dice mai…Madamina, il catalogo è questo
Don Giovanni, Act 1: Champagne Aria
Die Entführung aus dem Serail, Act 2: Martern aller Arten
Le nozze di Figaro, Act 2: Esci ormai, garzon malnato …Signore! Cos’è quell’stupore?
Le nozze di Figaro, Act 3: Hai già vinto la causa….. Vedró, mentr’io sospiro
Don Giovanni, Act 1: Finale, Riposate, vezzose ragazze
La clemenza di Tito, Act 1: Parto, parto
Die Zauberflöte, Act 1: Bei mannern, weiche Liebe fühlen
Idomeneo, Act 1: Estinto e Idomeneo ….tutte nel cor vi sento ..Pieta! Numi pieta!
Così fan tutte, Act 1: Finale, Ah che tutta in un momento … Dammi un bacio
Le nozze di Figaro, Act 2: Porgi Amor
Die Entführung aus dem Serail, Act 2: Wenn der Freude Tränen fliessen … Ach Belmonte! ach mein Leben!
Don Giovanni, Act 1: O sai che l’onore
Lucio Silla, Overture
Lucio Silla, Act 1: Dall sponda tenebrosa; E tollerare io posso; Il desio di vendetta
Mitridate, Rè di Ponto, Act 2: Lungi da te, mio bene
La Clemenza di Tito, Act 1: Come ti piaci imponi
La Clemenza di Tito, Act 2: Deh per questo istante solo; Ove s’intese mai più contumace; Se all’impero, amici Dei
Die Zauberflöte, Act 2:Der Hölle Rache kocht in meinem Herzen
Die Entführung aus dem Serail, Act 1: Solche hergelauf’ne Laffen
Le nozze di Figaro, Act 1: La Vendetta… via, resti servita
Idomeneo, Act 3: Ha vinto amore …. d’Oreste, d’Aiace
Die Zauberflöte, Act 1: Finale, Wie stark ist nicht dein zauberton …Es lebe Sarastro! Sarastro soll leben
Don Giovanni, Act 2: Finale II, Già mensa è preparata … Ah dov’è il perfido?

Presented by Donald Macleod
Produced by Johannah Smith for BBC Wales

For full track listings, including artist and recording details, and to listen to the pieces featured in full (for 30 days after broadcast) head to the series page for Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart (1756-1791) https://ift.tt/3ubuKBr

And you can delve into the A-Z of all the composers we’ve featured on Composer of the Week here: https://ift.tt/2vwHS8q

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Ralph Vaughan Williams (1872-1958)

Donald Macleod explores the life and music of Ralph Vaughan Williams

Ralph Vaughan Williams is one of Britain’s most loved composers, and best-known symphonists, writing nine symphonies which span almost fifty years of his career. These works evoke a wide range of moods, each creating its own unique world, from his first stormy choral symphony, through the aggressive and the tranquil, to his final enigmatic, haunting Ninth. This week, Donald Macleod delves into the life and work of Vaughan Williams – a man who helped forge a new identity for English music in the 20th Century – paying special attention to the symphonies.

Music Featured:

The Robin’s Nest
Fantasia on a Theme by Thomas Tallis
Prayer to the Father of Heaven
A Cambridge Mass (Credo : Credo in Unum Deum)
A London Symphony (original 1913 version) (IV. Andante con moto)
Linden Lea
Bushes and Briars
God that madest heaven and earth
The Lark Ascending (original piano and violin version)
Norfolk Rhapsody No 1
On Wenlock Edge (On Bredon Hill)
A Sea Symphony (Scherzo: The Waves)
Dona Nobis Pacem – Reconciliation
Symphony No 3, “A Pastoral Symphony” (II. Lento moderato)
English Folk Song Suite (III. March, “Folk Songs from Somerset”)
Job (Introduction; Sarabande of the Sons of God; Epilogue)
Music for the film 49th Parallel (Prelude (closing titles))
Symphony No 6 (Epilogue)
Romance
Four Last Songs (Tired)
Flos Campi (VI. Pone me ut signaculum super cor tuum)
Symphony No 5 (IV. Passacaglia)
String Quartet No 2 (II. Romance)
Toward the Unknown Region
Come down O Love Divine (Down Ampney)
Sinfonia Antartica (Intermezzo (with introductory lines))
Hodie (This Day) – No Sad Thought His Soul Affright
Songs of Travel (Nos 1, 6 & 9)
Symphony No 9 (IV. Andante tranquillo)
Five Variants of Dives and Lazarus

Presented by Donald Macleod
Produced by Sam Phillips

For full track listings, including artist and recording details, and to listen to the pieces featured in full (for 30 days after broadcast) head to the series page for Ralph Vaughan Williams (1872-1958) https://ift.tt/3jKauSH

And you can delve into the A-Z of all the composers we’ve featured on Composer of the Week here: https://ift.tt/2vwHS8q

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Franz Schubert (1797-1828)

Franz Schubert’s short life spanned a crucial period in music history as the elegant, classical stylings of Mozart and Haydn were giving way to the drama and passion of the romantic era. Schubert came to embody that transformation, in music that was all about personal expression and individual inspiration. This week, Donald Macleod throws the spotlight on Schubert’s chamber music and explores the stories around five key works for small ensembles.

Music Featured:

Pensa, che questo istante, D76
Symphony No 2 in B flat major, D125 (III. Menuetto & IV. Presto vivace)
Fantasie in G minor, for four hands, D9
Kyrie in D minor, K49
String Quartet No 10 in E flat major, D87
Klage, D436
Andenken, D423
Widerhall, D428
Die Bürgschaft, D435 (excerpt)
Symphony No 5 in B flat, D485 (Andante con moto & Menuetto)
String Quartet No 11 in E, D353
March in E major, D606
Overture in D major, D556
Salve Regina in A major, D676
Erlafsee, D586
Atys, D585
Piano Quintet in A major, “Die Forelle” D667 (Scherzo, Thema, Finale)
Rosamunde, D797 (The Full Moon Shines)
Die schöne Müllerin, D795 (Das Wandern, Ungeduld & Trockne Blumen)
String Quartet No 13 in A minor, D804 “Rosamunde” (Allegro ma non troppo & Andante)
Sonata for piano duet in C, Grand Duo D812 (Scherzo & Allegro Vivace)
Fugue in E minor, D952
Auf dem Strom, D943
String Quintet in C, D956 (Adagio & Scherzo)
String Quartet No 14 in D minor, D810 “Death and the Maiden” (Andante con moto)

Presented by Donald Macleod
Produced by Luke Whitlock, for BBC Wales

For full track listings, including artist and recording details, and to listen to the pieces featured in full (for 30 days after broadcast) head to the series page for Franz Schubert (1797-1828) https://ift.tt/39OIVnM

And you can delve into the A-Z of all the composers we’ve featured on Composer of the Week here: https://ift.tt/2vwHS8q

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Joseph Martin Kraus (1756-1792)

In a first for Composer of the Week, Donald Macleod surveys the life and music of Joseph Martin Kraus. Kraus has been called the Swedish Mozart; he was born in the same year as Mozart, in 1756, and survived him by just twelve months. Originally from Germany, Kraus found work as a composer based at the Swedish royal court and quickly came to be regarded as one of the leading music directors in all Europe. Haydn said that he knew of only two geniuses, Mozart and Joseph Martin Kraus.

Music Featured:

Soliman II Overture
Miserere in C minor, VB 4 (excerpt)
String Quartet in B flat major, VB 181
Sinfonie in C major, with Violin obligato, VB 138
Proserpin, VB 19 (Overture)
Azire, VB 18 (excerpt)
Sinfonie in C minor
Flute Quintet (Largo & Allegro con brio)
La Pesca, VB 44
Symphony in E flat major, VB 144
La Tempesta, VB 63 (Ma tut remi)
Du temps, qui détruit tout, VB 58
Sonata in E flat major, VB 195 (Allegro ma non troppo presto)
Riksdagsmarsch, VB 154
Piano Sonata in E major, VB 196 (Vivace)
Soliman II (excerpts from Act II (Nr.6) & Act III (Nr.16-19))
Funeral Cantata (Part One)
Cantata La Gelosia, VB46 (excerpt)
Symphony in C minor, VB 148 (Symphonie funèbre)
Funeral Cantata (Part Two)
String Quartet in E major, VB 180 (Allegretto)

Presented by Donald Macleod
Produced by Luke Whitlock for BBC Wales

For full track listings, including artist and recording details, and to listen to the pieces featured in full (for 30 days after broadcast) head to the series page for Joseph Martin Kraus (1756-1792) https://ift.tt/3onWxKU

And you can delve into the A-Z of all the composers we’ve featured on Composer of the Week here: https://ift.tt/2vwHS8q

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Pyotr Ilyich Tchaikovsky (1840-1893)

This week Donald Macleod reflects on five aspects of Tchaikovsky. The rich vein of fairy tale and fantasy, his love of literature and his long-standing love-affair with Italy. Also, the composer’s relationship with the man he called ‘Modya’, his beloved younger brother, Modest.
In 19th-century Russia, music was a key strand in national identity. Tchaikovsky’s ancestral Russian roots were a matter of great pride to him, but just how Russian a composer was he?

Music featured:

The Nutcracker, Op 71 (Act 1 Scene 2, March of the Toy Soldiers)
The Snow Maiden, Op 12 (No 2, Dance and Chorus of the Birds)
Swan Lake, Op 20 (Act 2 No 13e, Danse des cygnes: Pas d’action (Odette et le prince))
The Slippers (Act 1 scene 2, extract – Oksana’s aria)
The Sleeping Beauty, Op 66 (Act 1 No 5 (‘The Palace Garden’), No 6 (‘Valse’))
The Nutcracker, Op 71 (Act 2 No 12, Divertissement)
12 Romances, Op 60 (No 5, ‘Simple Words’)
Manfred Symphony, Op 58 (2nd mvt, Vivace con spirito)
Eugene Onegin, Op 24 (Act 1 scene 2)
Hamlet, overture-fantasia, Op 67
Six Romances, Op 73 (No 2, ‘Night’)
Six Romances, Op 38 (No 6, ‘La Pimpinella’)
Piano Trio in A minor, Op 50 (1st mvt, Pezzo elegiaco. Moderato assai—Allegro giusto)
String Sextet in D minor (‘Souvenir de Florence’), Op 70 (2nd mvt, Adagio cantabile e con moto)
Capriccio Italien, Op 45
Six Romances, Op 38 (No 2, ‘It was in the early spring’)
12 Pieces for Piano, Op 40 (No 1, Etude)
The Queen of Spades, Op 68 (Act 3 scenes 6 (conclusion) and 7)
12 Pieces for Piano, Op 40 (No 8, ‘Valse’)
Iolanta, Op 69 (No 7, Scene and Duet of Iolanta and Vaudémont)
Sixteen Songs for Children, Op 54 (No 10, ‘Lullaby in a storm’)
Scherzo à la Russe, Op 1 No 1
Symphony No 2 (‘Little Russian’) (2nd mvt, Andantino marziale, quasi moderato)
String Quartet No 1 in D, Op 11 (2nd mvt, Andante cantabile)
All-Night Vigil (No 16, The Great Doxology)
The Year 1812, Op 49
Six Romances, Op 6 (No 6, ‘None but the Lonely Heart’)

Presented by Donald Mcleod
Produced by Chris Barstow

For full track listings, including artist and recording details, and to listen to the pieces featured in full (for 30 days after broadcast) head to the series page for Pyotr Ilyich Tchaikovsky (1840-1893) https://ift.tt/2Y5xu4E

And you can delve into the A-Z of all the composers we’ve featured on Composer of the Week here: https://ift.tt/2vwHS8q

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Edvard Grieg (1843-1907)

Donald Macleod explores Grieg’s music through the places from which he took inspiration.

On 9th September 1907, it’s estimated that some forty to fifty thousand people turned out to pay their respects and watch Edvard Grieg’s cortège pass through the streets of Bergen. It’s an image that speaks of the enormous affection and esteem in which Grieg was held at the time of his death.

Bergen was where Grieg was born in 1843, and in a speech he made 60 years later, he acknowledged that his music was drawn from the life of its people, the surroundings of the town and its natural beauty.

This week Donald Macleod’s exploring Grieg’s life through the contrasting environments he needed to find the inspiration to write music. Donald begins his survey in Bergen, before assessing the decade Grieg spent in Oslo, the solitude he found in the picturesque Hardanger region and in the house he had built in the mountains. But Grieg had another, contradictory side to his nature, he was also a restless spirit and a keen traveller.

Music Featured:

2 Elegiac Melodies, Op 34, (Varen)
Piano concerto in A minor (3rd movt – Allegro moderato molto e marcato)
4 Psalms, Op 74 (Jesus Kristus er opfaren)
4 piano pieces, Op 1 (Allegro con leggerezza)
String Quartet in G minor, Op 27 (3rd movt – Intermezzo)
Holberg Suite, Op 40
Lyric pieces, Op 12 (Arietta)
Sigurd Jorsalfar: Three orchestral pieces, Op 56 (Intermezzo: Borghild’s Dream)
Piano Sonata in E minor, Op 7 (I. Allegro moderato)
In Autumn, Op 11
Haugtussa, Op 67
Grieg, arr. J. Halvorsen: Folkelivsbilder, Op 19 (Bridal procession)
Humoresque, Op 6, No 2
Album Leaves, Op 28
Norwegian Dances, Op 35
The Mountain Thrall, Op 32b
Lyric Pieces Op 54: No 3 Trolltog; No 4 Notturno; No 6 Klokkeklang
Fra Monte pincio
Piano Concerto in A minor (2nd movt – Adagio)
Violin Sonata No 3 (Allegro animato – Prestissimo)
Peer Gynt Suite No 2, Op 55
6 songs, Op 25 No 2 (En Svane)
Symphonic Dances op 64 No 4 (Andante)
Lyric pieces, Op 71 (Remembrances)
Melodies of the Heart, Op 5 (No 1,To brune Ojne; No 3, Jeg elsker Dig)
Ballade in G minor (in the form of variations on a Norwegian folktune), Op 24
Cello Sonata in A minor Op 36 (Allegro molto e marcato)
Slåtter, Op 72: (Nos 1- 4)

Presented by Donald MacLeod
Produced by Johannah Smith for BBC Wales

For full track listings, including artist and recording details, and to listen to the pieces featured in full (for 30 days after broadcast) head to the series page for Edvard Grieg (1843-1907) https://ift.tt/2LfHnt5

And you can delve into the A-Z of all the composers we’ve featured on Composer of the Week here: https://ift.tt/2vwHS8q

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Beethoven Unleashed: In Perspective

Donald Macleod introduces personal highlights of his year-long celebration of Beethoven

Donald Macleod embarks on the final week of his year-long celebration of the 250th anniversary of the birth of Ludwig van Beethoven, selecting his personal highlights of conversations he’s had with special guests over the course of 25 series.

Composer of the Week has this year, every alternate week, explored the life and work of Ludwig van Beethoven, in celebration of the 250th anniversary of his birth. In this, the final week of 25 series devoted to the extraordinary composer, Donald Macleod looks back over the year, and presents his personal highlights from the interviews he carried out over the course of 125 programmes. From historian Simon Schama to conductors Marin Alsop and John Eliot Gardiner, and pianists Jonathan Biss and Angela Hewitt, Donald was joined by experts and performers who gave remarkable insights into the unique human being that was Beethoven. This week he brings together some of the conversations that stayed with him, building a picture of Beethoven the man, the composer, the interpretation of his music since his death, the times he lived in, and what he means to us today.

Composer of the Week has been returning to the story of Beethoven’s life and music throughout 2020. Part of Radio 3’s Beethoven Unleashed season marking the 250th anniversary of Beethoven’s birth.

Music Featured:

Mass in C, Op 86 – Sanctus
Piano Concerto No 4 in G, Op 58 (Andante con moto & Rondo vivace)
Violin Sonata No 5 in F, Op 24 “Spring” (4th movement: Rondo)
Piano Sonata No 27, Op 90
Maigesang, Op 52 No 4
Piano Sonata No 4 in E flat, Op 7 (2nd movement: Largo, com gran espressione)
Violin Concerto in D, Op 61 (1st movement)
String Quartet No 16 in F, Op 135 (4th movement: Grave, ma non troppo tratto)
Concerto No 3 in C minor, Op 37 (2nd movement: Largo)
Fidelio Act 2 Nr 14 & Nr 15
String Quartet No 16 in F, Op 135 (3rd movement: Lento assai, cantate e tranquillo)
Sonata No 26 in E flat, Op 81A “Les adieux” (The Absence & The Reunion)
Wind Octet in E flat, Op 103(1st movement: Allegro & 2nd movement: Andante)
Die Ehre Gottes aus der Natur, Op 48 No 4 (The Heavens are Telling)
Symphony No 3 in E flat, Op 55 “Eroica” (2nd movement: Marcia funebre. Adagio assai)
Piano Trio Op 1 No 3 in C minor (4th movement: Prestissimo)
11 Bagatelles, Op 119 No 3 in D major (A l’Allemande)
String Quartet Op.130 (I.Adagio ma non troppo – Allegro)
Piano Sonata No 30 in E major, Op.109 (1st movement: Vivace ma non troppo – Adagio espressivo)
Symphony No 4 in B flat, OP 60 – 4th movement: Allegro ma non troppo
Fidelio Act 1 – Finale

Presented by Donald Macleod
Produced by Luke Whitlock for BBC Wales

For full track listings, including artist and recording details, and to listen to the pieces featured in full (for 30 days after broadcast) head to the series page for Beethoven Unleashed: In Perspective https://ift.tt/34otrE1

And you can delve into the A-Z of all the composers we’ve featured on Composer of the Week here: https://ift.tt/2vwHS8q

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George Benjamin (b 1960)

Donald Macleod is joined by Sir George Benjamin to discuss his musical influences

Composer of the Week marks the sixtieth birthday of the celebrated British composer Sir George Benjamin. This week, Benjamin joins Donald Macleod in the studio to provide listeners with personal insights into his music and distinguished career. They discuss the composer’s musical connections, his inspirations, his interest in collaboration, the compositional process, and his work as a pianist, conductor and teacher.

Music Featured:

Viola, Viola
Piano Sonata (Vivace)
Palimpsests
Written on Skin (XIV & XV The Protector of Agnès & The Boy / Angel 1)
Panorama
Tape
A Mind of Winter
Dance Figures
Dream of the Song
Piano Figures
At First Light
Written on Skin (VIII The Protector of Agnès)
Upon Silence
Ringed by the Flat Horizon
Into the Little Hill (Scene VI & VII)
Lessons in Love and Violence (Sc.3 Please everyone be seated)
Sometime Voices
Three Inventions for Chamber Orchestra
Shadowlines
Lessons in Love and Violence (Sc.1 Not when you grip my neck)
Duet for Piano and Orchestra

Presented by Donald Mcleod
Produced by Luke Whitlock, for BBC Wales

Photo credit: Matthew Lloyd

For full track listings, including artist and recording details, and to listen to the pieces featured in full (for 30 days after broadcast) head to the series page for George Benjamin https://ift.tt/2W74Wqu

And you can delve into the A-Z of all the composers we’ve featured on Composer of the Week here: https://ift.tt/2vwHS8q

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